Winsor will mean more cops on the beat

PolicePolice forces have hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of keen qualified applicants queuing to join up, many already working successfully as PCSOs or special constables.

The  Winsor reforms announced yesterday should be welcomed, first and foremost because they  will allow many of those brave men and women, who would otherwise be blocked, to step up and become full-time, fully-fledged police constables.

A lower starting salary of £19k, with existing PCSOs and Specials allowed to join at £21k, rising to £22k or £23k after 2-3 years, means the public will get more full officers on the beat. The current system where officers have to start on £23,259, rising to £27,471 within two years, means forces cannot let excellent PCSOs train as police officers, because they cannot afford to pay them, while other well qualified applicants are turned away or made to wait for years.

Click To Enlarge

I recently served for four years as a member of the Kent Police Authority. Because we planned properly, made savings and took difficult decisions others avoided, Kent Police are increasing neighbourhood policing by 520 officers and are still recruiting and training new constables.

Unfortunately many other forces have imposed long-term recruitment freezes and resorted to sacking all officers with over thirty years experience. These are the only two ways they have to manage police officer numbers under the current extraordinarily inflexible police regulations. These in effect guarantee officers a job for thirty years if they get through two years probation.

I was disappointed that Tom Winsor did not initially seem prepared to reform this, particularly as I had already taken much of the flak by introducing a bill in parliament. That led to an unflattering cartoon of me in Police Review, but it also got Chief Constables on the record to support reform of a police privilege the like of which is enjoyed by no other profession.

Winsor has now grasped the nettle and recommended severance, the equivalent of redundancy, to be available where necessary for police, albeit subject to generous compensation, and for this to be available as early as April 2013. This should stop the absurd current practice of police forces sacking experienced and specialist civilians so that unsackable police officers can be paid more to do their jobs, and I hope that minister will have the courage to push this through.

I believe that Tom Winsor is also right to insist that officers should only be paid for having the full range of warranted officer skills if they can actually be deployed.

However,  I know some officers who have been disabled by violent attacks in the line of duty, yet are still doing valuable police work, albeit that they cannot, because of the attack, perform the whole range of police work. They might, as Winsor recognises be as well or better off financially taking an injury award and ill-health pension, but  some will still not want to give up their police warrant. In such special and sensitive circumstances I believe we should allow Chief Constables discretion.

As a fit and spry 54-year old Mr Winsor might have been wise to see discretion as the better part of valour before entering into so stark a critique of male Met officers’ fitness or quite so detailed a prescription of the future fitness regime to which they should be subjected. However, as Winsor has written 80 pages about health and fitness in a report which runs to 630 pages with 150 pages of appendices, officers who do not read all of it can at least use the two weighty volumes (retailing at £91 and not to be sold separately) to help with their work-outs.

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42 Comments

Filed under ACPO, bbc, conservatives, keith vaz, mark reckless, nick herbert, police, Policing, rochester and strood, winsor report

42 responses to “Winsor will mean more cops on the beat

  1. You haven’t got a clue what you are talking about. You would like to sack officers who get injured doing their job. Shame on you.

  2. Claire Filbert

    Quote “The current system where officers have to start on £23,259, rising to £27,471 within two years, means forces cannot let excellent PCSOs train as police officers, because they cannot afford to pay them, while other well qualified applicants are turned away or made to wait for years.”
    An interesting point although you seem to gloss over the impression given by the graphic on your blog that under the Winsor reforms, if implemented, forces will have to pay officers at the top rate of the pay scale after only 8 years instead of waiting 11 years – surely this is top loading problems for later on. Having said that of course in 8 years time it is highly likely that this will become the problem of another administration. Perhaps the plan is to make officers redundant after 8 years and then back fill from new recruits – I wonder how many of the “hundreds and in some cases thousands of applicants queuing to join up” will be so apparently willing to join knowing that in 8 years time forces can no longer afford to pay them?
    I am tempted to say that your foresight appears to be incredibly short – you appear to have concentrated only on the ‘couple of thousand’ pounds apparent saving in starter salary with no regard for the extra to be paid in the medium to long term and with no apparent thought whatsoever given to the training and other administration costs to the many extra warranted officers that you envisage will populate the streets.
    One way to increase the number of ‘beat bobby’s’ on the street would perhaps to rename a large majority of them as ‘neighbourhood officers’ – of course this does not actually increase the number of actual officers on the street but it certainly does give that impression on paper at least.

  3. S wright

    Absolutely ridiculous to even believe that this outrageous money saving exercise is going to benefit the British police service, just ask those who know!

  4. D. Dakin

    Mr Reckless,
    I have been a frontline Police Officer for the past 25 years and consider Mr Winsor’s report to be the biggest single assault on Policing in this country that we have ever seen. Policing is a service and not a business, something Mr Winsor misses by a mile.
    I’m gratefull for your health tips though, but I fear the £91 for the recommended equipment may soon be out of my grasp once my pay packet and the service I love has been butchered by individuals who share your blinkered view.

  5. Sam Wilson

    What a completely clueless, ill-informed commentary. Do you actually believe your own spin or is this just a convincing attempt to toe the party line? Why not try a little honesty; the Conservatives are anti-police, anti-NHS, anti Fire service, anti-teachers and anti every other public service. Sadly I am one of the guilty and voted for you. Not an error of judgement I will repeat, ever.

    • Moley

      The reason that they are so Anti Public Service is because the private sector is the only thing they have left to Privatise and Sell off to Their cronies. The best of the Family Silver was sold off years ago.
      I have had to Police some of the worst Public disorder England has seen including one situation when a colleague was Hacked to death. To witness the breakdown of society/Law and order in the matter of minutes is something that all MPs should witness first hand and not from the safe surroundings of their lounge. For me it was a life changing experience, the realisation of how fragile our society is was unbelievable.When I was a probationary constable I questioned something I was asked to do which was well beyond the call of duty,My old time Sargent said “look you have got a job for life, the Public look after you very well, it is your duty to return that commitment and never forget that” I am no longer a Police officer, I was proud to hold the office of Constable, but now I worry that one day my children may naively want to join this denigrated Service.

  6. Jeremy Naylor

    Mr. Reckless.
    You just haven’t got a clue what your talking about!

  7. Tom Duff

    You are either ill-informed or deliberately misrepresenting the truth! Police officers’ services can quite rightly and relatively easily be dispensed with, should they not perform to an agreed standard, under Unsatisfactory Performance Procedures. Kent Police Federation will be only too happy to show you the relevant procedures should you have difficulty in locating them.
    Furthermore, you claim that Kent have an additional 520 Neighbourhood Officers as if to suggest these are extra officers. They are not. They are officers who have been redeployed from other areas of business. Notwithstanding this, they are Neighbourhood Officers only in name when compared to officers of the same title prior to the 16th of November 2012. Prior to that date, Neighbourhood officers were designated to specific wards and were prioritised to those wards. Current Neighbourhood Officers invariably find themselves in police statipns, dealing with prisoners and/or investigating reports of crime.
    You further allude to the starting income of a new constable under Winsor’s proposals (£19k) and suggest that PCSO’s and Special Constables are queueing up to join. PCSO’s currently earn significantly more than £19k and do much less than sworn officers. Where is the incentive?
    Morale in the service is as low as I can ever remember and that causes me some considerable concern. Officers care passionately about the service they deliver and genuinely believe your Government risk seriously undermining that service. Some 6500 police officers nationally have gone with a further 9700 to go. Crime is starting to rise but there is still time to stop it. I urge you stop these cuts to protect the communities of Kent; communities that elected you to look after their safety and best interests.

  8. Tony Vegas

    Get a grip you fool. 16,000 officers down already. Focus on sorting the social welfare system that’s bleeding the country dry.

  9. Colin Kirkup

    Reckless by name………….

  10. Tom

    “These are the only two ways they have to manage police officer numbers under the current extraordinarily inflexible police regulations. These in effect guarantee officers a job for thirty years if they get through two years probation”

    A police officer isn’t guaranteed a job for thirty years any more than any employee of a stable established company is. Police officers are subject to disciplinary proceedings as much as anyone, if not mor,e if their senior officers don’t think they’re performing. Police officers can and are sacked if they perform poorly. All Winsor’s recommendations do is allow your government to cull officers as and when they see fit.

    The logic that the way to get more officers on the street by paying them less is insulting. It’s a solution designed by people who have no grasp of how dangerous the job is. Officers are routinely assaulted, insulted and spat at, yet still put themselves in harms way daily because it’s their duty. £23,000 starting salary is well earned. In fact it’s probably not enough.

    How can reforms be fair when all they do is take from officers? Ask any officer and they’ll tell you, the way to get more officers on the street is to reduce beurocracy. Every government say they’ll do it, but they never do. The legal infrastructure is such that officers need to cover so many bases that following a simple arrest, even if the suspect admits it, the officer can be tied up for a whole shift dealing with it. How about looking at that? How about freeing up officers to do the job they want to do by fixing that? No, Winsor just wants to cut wages and make officers easier to sack.

    The fitness issue is a smokescreen. Most officers are perfectly fit and healthy, and it’s telling that the ones that Winsor spoke to we’re officers who had entered into a voluntary weight loss programme as they felt like they wanted to lose a few pounds.

    This article, like the Winsor report is insulting to good hard working officers, and in both cases written by someone whose existence is so far removed from the job that police do that their input is irrelevant. You and Winsor live in your nice homes in your leafy suburbs. You’re making recommendations about things you know nothing about. The police have already done their share to reduce the deficit, yet still this government attacks them at every turn. These reforms aren’t about improving the police service at all

  11. Bob S

    Amazing! What nonsense! Winsor has stated that there is little data relating to the fitness of officers yet he comes out with the statistics he has. Where did he get it from? He has already been caught out in his first report for being economical with the truth and he has done it again. And just because a person is overweight does not mean they are unfit.

    As for reducing the starting pay to £19k, do you honestly expect officers to go out into dangerous situations for that? What planet are you on?

    Winsor’s report is an unprecedented attack on the police service. You forget that police officers are not employees but servants of the crown who have no industrial rights whatsoever. By introducing redundancy into the equation you are turning them into employees but without the same rights as other employees.

    By the way, there are nearly 6000 fewer police officers now than there were in 2010. The numbers will reduce even further as experienced officers jump ship and you will have a demoralised service which is under strength unable to do the job it is supposed to do if Winsor’s recommendations are implemented in full.

  12. onahidingtonothing

    I am a serving PC also in a Force which recently saved a lost £20m over the last few years.. despite this we’re being asked to save another £25m+. So while times were good and other Forces (and bankers) were throwing money about all over the place, we had the good sense to cut the fat and put some away for a rainy day. Did this happen? No.. we’re still being asked to cut further. We trimmed our fat, further savings are going to cut into our flesh.

    Winsor is a joke of a report, written by a man who knows nothing about Policing (he knew nothing about railways either and look where that got us) for a Government who despise the very people in the public sector keeping this country ticking over. I can see the brief now… “Tom, just nip off and write a report that recommends the following…. There’s a knighthood in it for you.”

    Your commentary is naive, short-sighted, and ill-informed. You walk into my Police Station and ask any number of people with some actual experience of Policing and you’ll get the facts for real, and it won’t be anything like the bull being served up by your Government.

    Another guilty moron who voted Conservative last time and will never do so again. Your party is a self-serving disgrace.

  13. R Cooke

    Oh how I pray for the day that the Tories come up for re election… The Police has always supporrted you and I can not believe I was so naive as to have voted for you but this will be a situatiuon I will be happy to resolve. After 25 yrs of frontline service, putting my job before my family and my own health I can not believe the attack on pay and conditions.
    You people seriously have absolutely no idea of the hornet’s nest you have stirred up.
    Lesson 1 is always…do not cut off your own right arm and sadly that is exactly what the Govt have done.

  14. Ali Roberts

    Mr Reckless,
    What a load of poop! Myself and my partner (both serving officers) are disgusted by your bigoted views and to add insult to injury, live in your constituency. You can kiss ‘goodbye’ to two votes in the next election (and more than likely a load more after more colleagues here of this)!

  15. Bernie

    There is an expression, Toot.
    It means totally out of touch. Mr Reckless it sums you up to a tee.
    Can I suggest, instead of the self congratulation about having been on a Police Authority, you go and try doing the job you spout so inaccurately about.
    Go and try and join the Police, but a big hat on and try walking the streets.
    I can guarantee you 2 things, it’s the hardest work you will ever do. And secondly, within days you will see the stupidity of what you have written which will make you realise why Police officers are so angry about the winsor proposals.
    Leaving aside how inaccurate it is, or to put it in direct terms, how he lied in it, it will do nothing to help policing in this country, in fact the opposite.
    As far as your party is concerned, well done fool, you’ve just lost most police officers votes, along with their families in all probability.

  16. ambushpredator

    Tell me, Mark, how did similar plans to ‘improve’ the teaching service by allowing graduates in work out?

    Are our schools now the envy of the world? No?

    How odd.

  17. R Adams

    A Tory MP detached from the real world

  18. J Boakes

    Regarding the fitness issue FullFact describes Mr Windors claims thus:-
    “Full Fact originally claimed the figures reported by the papers were broadly accurate. While this remains the case in terms of the figures, it should be emphasised that the sampling used makes the overall claims highly unreliable. The fact that there is little data on police fitness gives readers an additional reason to distrust the reality behind the figures”

    So Mr Reckless – why does the report need to use unsuportable claims to make it’s recommendations?

  19. G.Douglas

    Maybe you should get rid of the cost of policing completely and simply privatise the Police like you want to do with the NHS………..you useless idiot.

    PS Perhaps you could remind us all exactly what cut in salary MP’s have taken? How much do you contribute to your pension? How much is your ‘golden parachute’ worth when you are kicked out at the next election?……….just asking, ‘cos of course we are ‘all in it together’.

  20. Mike Mallard

    Absolute rubbish. Maybe these exta officers should come from the pool INVENTED by the esteemed Mr Winsor in his first recomendation.

  21. P S

    Mr Reckless

    I voted for this current government, I assure you I will never vote for them again. They are destroying our police service, which was the envy of other countries. The public will soon know the real cost of what is happening. Crime is rising and the figures in the next year will be hard to explain away.

    Shame on you.

  22. Mick Gulliver

    Reckless, the oracle of policing, not. Like Sam Wilson, I too voted for them. What a ghastly mistake. Never, ever again!

  23. Tom

    What you also fail to mention Mr Reckless is that forces will no longer to be able to afford to train officers themselves in the near future. Most of these PCSO’s and specials that you talk about won’t be able to afford to train to become police officers, because they’ll need to pay £9000 per term for their policing degree before they even apply for a job as an officer. Another piece of information you conveniently leave out.

  24. D. Lowe

    You don’t need a First Class degree (which I have) to understand that Mr Reckless doesn’t have a clue. This will destroy every aspect of British policing. A policing system which was until recently the best in the world.

  25. Matthew Crow

    Utter nonsense from start to finish.

    I was going to post more, but I fear reprisals for exercising my freedom of speech.

  26. Jim The Crim

    Thou truly art a Clown

  27. Very disappointed constituent

    Mr Reckless,
    Thankyou for your views, it’s a shame that your years on the Kent Police Authority did not give you more insight into modern day policing.
    1) Kent Police still have to make millions of pounds of saving. Any reduction is starting salary will make no difference to police officer numbers, as the force currently cannot afford to employ it’s current staffing levels.
    2) No additional ‘Neighbourhood’ officers have been put on our streets. As part of a restructure of the force, several departments were merged and given the title of ‘Neighbourhood’. It is PR spin and the actual truth of the matter is that the neighbourhood officers that were in post before the restructure, have been pulled off thier ‘Beats’ to deal with routine calls anywhere in the district.
    3) By all means give our bosses the right to make us redundant. But also give us the right to strike, like any other employee currently has. The right to strike is a fundamental right that everyone else has except the police. If any other group of employees had been screwed about with pay and conditions like we have, they would be evoking that right immediately. Whereas we have to grin and bere it, and work on regardless.

    I look forward to seeing you working at McDonalds. As I feel your time as a MP is to be short lived, in view of your shortsightedness.

  28. DB

    Dear Mr. Reckless,

    Kent Police aren’t recruiting new regular (i.e. paid) officers. In fact they haven’t for over two years.

    Are all your facts as well stitched together as this one?

    All the best,

    DB

  29. Mark Webster

    This ill informed drivel is typical of the current Conservative Government and their lickspittle Liberal Democrat colleagues who are doing their utmost to decimate the public services by blaming them for the financial crisis this country faces while refusing to accept that it was the financial community ie highly paid Conservative Bankers and Business men that are responsible for this state of affairs.
    Mr Reckless you know nothing about policing and Tom Windsor has clearly been given a mandate to butcher policing by his puppet master or should I say mistress?
    You and your colleagues will decimate the Police Service under the guise of improving the service but even a simpleton can clearly see that this is cost cutting. Only a buffoon would think that cutting salaries by several thousands of pounds will lead to a highly motivated workforce with thousands flocking to join.
    Please remember that as the saying goes “If you pay peanuts you get monkeys”.
    Finally you have driven me at the age of nearly 50 to do something that I never thought that I would and that is to vote Labour.

  30. PC Plod

    Got to love the voice of vested interest which is so prescient on the comments above. Police Federation = Trade Union. The only voices which are ‘on message’ here are the voices from the trade unionists opposed to change. Wake up!

  31. Steve Anderson

    Mr Reckless
    Perhaps you should have a look at the 2006 Police Pension Regulations, rather than the former 30 years scheme that politicians keep referring to. Police officers recruited since 2006 have to complete 35 years service to draw on a half salary 70th’s scheme pension having paid in contributions of 9.5%. How does that compare to MP’s 40th’s scheme pension, where you pay far less in total contributions and get far more out when retiring after a far shorter period of service to your constituency. Seeing as the police service are the only public sector workers who do not have the right to strike, we have been burdened with up to a 1.5% increase in our pension contributions from 1st April 2012. I wonder if MP’s have agreed similar from 1st April to show that we are all in this together? I think not. I suppose the only consolation is that you are no longer a member of a Police Authority.

  32. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10590725 (Mark Reckless MP sorry for being ‘too drunk to vote’)

    What astonishing, barefaced cheek you have. Not only are you a disgraceful example of an MP, your ‘on-message’ diatribe is so biased and loaded that it is actually laughable. Enjoy the next few years – there is not a public sector worker in this country who will vote Conservative again for many, many elections to come.

  33. Hissing Sid

    It frightens me, it really does; the sheer stupidity of your article by a supposedly intelligent man. And people like you are running our country. I have served our Queen and the public for over 25 years, and never have I seen morale so low and officers so concerned as I do now. Your arguments don’t add up, and as a (thankfully) former member of the KPA your understanding of the Police Service is woeful.

    I have just finished my night duty, and wonder how many times you have patrolled alone, not knowing what you may come across or be expected to deal with, when the nearest help could be miles away. I would guess the answer is ‘never’, and so you cannot ever hope to understand us. And yet you come out with garbage like this.

    And to tell a bare-faced lie regarding new Neighbourhood Officers just demonstrates the level of the current deceit of the public. They have simply been moved from other posts – they are not additional posts. And yes, we are still recruiting police officers – but only to prevent a greater haemorrhaging of officers than is already occurring. More officers on the beat? Don’t make me laugh – we’ve never been so alone.

    I am proud to serve with some fine people, and just glad that I can hold my head up high knowing that I serve without fear or favour. You and your ilk will never be able to say the same.

  34. J Boakes

    Lies exposed:-

    The verdict
    Labour’s numbers appear to add up, although the overall cuts in officer numbers are less drastic than those headline figures on “visible” police would suggest, and the numbers don’t give us the broader picture about cuts to the front line as a whole.
    That’s not to say that the front line isn’t suffering too, but we’ll have to wait until later this year for HMIC to deliver the final word on that.
    Our best guess now, as also pointed out by the independent House of Commons library in their recently updated report on police service strength, is that frontline officer numbers will fall by around 2,500 posts from 2010 to 2012.
    We still don’t know where the Home Office get their claim of “500 more officers on the front line”. When they let us know the source of that, we’ll be happy to FactCheck it.
    By Patrick Worrall

  35. Terry Gomez

    Back in the 1970’s police numbers were at a low point. Despite large unemployment figures they couldn’t recruit people because of poor conditions of service. In 1978 the government of the day had to increase police pay by over 20% just to bring police pay to a reasonable standard and make the service more attractive as a career prospect.
    These improved conditions of service made policing an attractive proposition to thousands of quality recruits. I have four A-levels a 2:1 degree in law from a top university, studied sociology and criminology, played basketball at county level, study martial arts and regularly go to the gym. I joined the Police in my mid-twenties despite it meaning taking a pay cut as I passionately wanted to help people and it seemed a very worthwhile career.
    I’m confused how completely destroying conditions of service by lowering starting salaries, increasing pension contributions, discriminating against any officer unfortunate to be injured in the line of duty and above all being effectively able to sack any officer at any stage without reason whilst denying them any recourse in law will provide an attractive job proposition for anyone let alone higher qualified applicants. You may have “thousands” of qualified applicants queuing up currently but I can assure you when Winsor starts you will have no one. How many people with a mortgage, family to support or rent to pay would be willing to work in such awful conditions with a take home pay of approximately £1000 a month and the knowledge you can lose your job in a heart beat irrespective of how well qualified or hard working you are. How many people would be willing to take the risk of getting injured in the line of duty knowing that if they do they will be actively discriminated against being forced to take a pay cut and more than likely forced out of their job.
    Perhaps you had been partaking in your tax-payer subsidised Westminster bars and restaurants, as you have been well known to do, when you wrote this brilliantly ill-informed piece that only serves to show exactly why you should never be re-elected.
    I was a lifelong Conservative but I along with every other public service worker, NHS, armed forces etc will never vote for you again.

  36. Bernie

    As an MP you are supposed to represent the views of voters, not your own.
    If (and I accept that this is unlikely) you have read the replies to your ill thought out, and it seems inaccurate posting, you will be in no doubt that the voters don’t agree with you.
    What chance of you acting accordingly? None.
    Your behaviour in a Police Officer, drunkenness on duty and false representation would lead to their dismissal, something which unless the Condem Government shape up a bit on the rapid side, you can look forward to at the next election.
    Listen to people Reckless and stop being Reckless on crime.

  37. Iggy

    I am a special constable and have been for 2 years and how eye opening it has been. Almost every night I have worked has had the threat of an assault or a actual assault on an officer. The stress is immense and I admire the regulars who do this day in and day out.

    I wanted to join full time and care about the area I live but having read Windsor’s recommendations for the future of policing you should realise that:

    I would NOT DO IT FOR £19000 a year

    I currently earn less that the starting salary and still would only join if I felt that there was a balance between the personal risks and job security.

    You will still get many joining at that price but after experiencing the front line with the constant verbal and physical assaults they will not hang around for £1300 a month take home.

    My brother is a security guard and earns more than that, does not work shifts and if he sees anything suspicious he steps back and calls the police!

  38. Police officers. Have you twigged what’s going on? You are being replaced by civilian staff and private firms for more and more duties. You are being used for the violent confrontations.from domestic abuse and drunks to controlling protests. Re the latter, there is video evidence online where undercover officers are seen trying to incite the protesters to arrack the police. Obviously as ordered by the hierarchy. You were told to hold back during the London riots. Why? Because now most police forces have access to water cannon, CS gas etc if there are more riots. And you already “kettle” peaceful protests. The law now permits any minister to instate martial law. (In the US, there are already empty FEMA internment camps.) There are plans for the authorities to read all our emails, texts and tap our phones, On top of the CCTV cameras, Xray machines, stop and search. The people who tell our governments what to do obviously have something planned which will incite the whole nation. And you poor guys are going to be used like the army to suppress the nation. Until eventually you are replaced by a NATO Peace keeping force. You are becoming the new Nazi Stormtroopers!
    “Those who don’t learn history are destined to repeat it!”.

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